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Guantanamo Detainee Faces War Crimes Charges for U.S. Bomb Plot

Update: Binyam Mohammed was released from Guantanamo Bay on February 23, 2009, and has been granted temporary admission to the United Kingdom

Posted: June 4, 2008

A former British resident from Ethiopia held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, faces war crime charges for his alleged role in an Al Qaeda plot to bomb targets, including apartment buildings, in the U.S.


Binyam Mohammed, 29, is accused by the Pentagon of planning to attack targets in the U.S. with natural gas and a "dirty bomb" - a radioactive bomb.  The U.S. Military Commissions' Convening Authority, which oversees the tribunal system, must approve the charges before an arraignment is scheduled. 


Mohammed traveled to Afghanistan in June 2001, where he fought alongside the Taliban and was trained in explosives in an Al Qaeda camp, according to the Pentagon. He later met with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Jose Padilla in Pakistan, where he allegedly received information on how to build a radioactive "dirty bomb."


The Pentagon contends that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being arraigned on charges for his role in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, directed Binyam Mohammed and Padilla to attack American targets. Mohammed allegedly also received $6,000 from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in order to carryout the plan to bomb apartment buildings.  

Padilla, who like Mohammed was held for a time as an '"enemy combatant," was never formally charged with the "dirty bomb" plot. Padilla was sentenced in January 2008 to over to 17 years in prison by a federal jury in Miami for providing material support to terrorists and other related charges.

Mohammed, who was born in Ethiopia and moved to Britain in 1994 when he was 15, is the 20th detainee selected to face the military tribunals at Guantanamo. He was arrested in Pakistan in April 2002 and transferred to Guantanamo Bay in September 2004.  He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

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2008 Anti-Defamation League